AdWords Ads Not Showing – What’s Going On?

Today we discuss questions and topic areas within your digital marketing ecosystem this week I searched for my keyword but my AdWords Ad isn’t showing what’s going on so to start out this is an item that every AdWords Advertiser has or will face if you’ve been using AdWords for some time chances are that you’ve searched for your own keywords but not seen your Ad and if you’re working with an agency you’ll also know that this is one of those situations that can easily cause an email to get sent that is flagged as important and has urgent in capital letters in the subject line.

I know I’ve received them and that’s fair enough because not seeing your Ad appear when it should be an as stressful and frustrating experience and it’s quite normal to think that something must be seriously wrong for this situation to arise however there are many legitimate reasons why an AdWords Ad may not show these reasons are not immediately obvious either.

We’re going to be focused on addressing the most common causes for an Ad not showing with the discussion about each point and links to tools and further info.

Ad Preview And Diagnosis Tool

Hopefully, after this blog, you will know much more about the ins and the outs of the AdWords system if you’re new to it be aware of the specialty tools that can help with diagnosing and previewing Ads and be able to assist others who have this very same question so let’s jump in imagine you just search for a keyword than an Ad would normally show for but it’s not there what is going on, so here are the top factors that are likely causing this factor number one personal search history so Google is objective with AdWords is to serve Ads that people find relevant and enticing Google tracks search your behavior and history to be able to do this keeping a record of the Ads that people see and engage with.

If a searcher is looking for a particular keyword repeatedly over time and does engage with an Advertiser’s at a pattern of behavior is established google uses this pattern of behavior to determine which ads to show in the future so if an Advertiser searches Google in an effort to trigger their own Ads and does not click through Google may start withholding those Ads from that searcher.

Because it perceives that the person is not interested in the Ads or the Advertiser as you can imagine this situation can easily occur and cause a person to think that Ads are not showing for all people when in fact it’s individual search history at play now beyond this using live searches to generate Ads causes impressions without clicks which harms the metrics of your campaigns and can cause your clicks to cost more hours.

So if you can’t see your Ad personal search history might be the cause and if so Ads are not triggering for you but probably are showing for others.

Under the next common factor budget settings, budget settings direct impact and visibility drastically and directly with AdWords budget are most commonly set on a per-day basis Ads will show while the budget is available and if budget exhausts had stopped showing now some advertisers have a lot of keywords they’re trying to cover and they have lots of budgets to be able to do so in their case these advertisers would likely want to show their Ads as often as they possibly can so every single time someone searches for a targeted keyword to serve Ads as often as possible.

Google provides an Ad pacing method called Accelerated Delivery.

Accelerated Delivery is best for advertisers who want to maximize volume and have an ample budget if you want your Ad to show every time Accelerated Delivery is probably the right setting for you now on the other hand the majority of advertisers would like to target a variety of keywords but have a limited budget available to do so if these advertisers for the show as often as possible such as with the Accelerated Delivery setting their budget could be exhausted quickly.

Each morning causing invisibility for the to the day as their Ads would no longer have a budget to show so this is not ideal now to cater for this situation, Google has an alternate pacing method called Standard Delivery.

Standard Delivery enables Ads to be staggered throughout the day so instead of showing every single possible time maybe they show half the time or 1/3 of the time so one in every two searches or one in every three searches now the goal of Standard Delivery is to give a limited budget the best chance of being evenly distributed throughout the morning the afternoon the evening at night or whichever Ad schedule you’re deciding to use so if an Ad isn’t showing for a particular search budget may have been exhausted for the day such as would be the case if Accelerated Delivery was being used or Ads may be staggered to show part-time such as the case with Standard Delivery.

The third most common reason for Ads not showing keyword targeting in order for a keyword to trigger an Ad it must be configured to do so within the AdWords platform but sometimes a keyword is present in the platform and still doesn’t cause an Ad to show for other reasons these reasons relate to the keyword settings now many advertisers are concerned that if their ad isn’t showing for a given keyword it is because that keyword is missing or absent from the account in the case of a person who’s working with an agency not seeing a keyword trigger.

An Ad can cause the client to believe their campaign manager has forgotten to include it which raises questions about the competency of the campaign manager and their understanding of the clients Advertising objectives an uncomfortable scenario so what’s really important to know is that if a keyword isn’t triggering an Ad it doesn’t mean the campaign manager has forgotten it they might have forgotten it but they probably haven’t.

Let’s look at what else could be happening, the campaign manager has decided not to emphasize the keyword in question versus the others in the account for example maybe the campaigns are set to deliver the maximum amount of conversions for a particular budget, and historically this keyword wasn’t converting at an acceptable level so to improve account performance the AdWords manager may have limited the visibility of this particular term.

So the budget could be shifted towards better performing areas of the account while optimizations to improve that keyword are underway maybe there’s another setting that’s causing issues for example the keywords only scheduled to show at particular times of the day such as during business hours only or the keyword is scheduled to appear on a particular device such as a desktop mobile or a tablet or combination thereof or the keyword is set to show only in a particular location such as a few kilometers from the company’s office or there’s something blocking this term such as a negative keyword.

This can occur when there are multiple people managing an account and operating independently of each other which is why it’s really important to have a Central Account Manager, so if the keyword is missing it’s generally straightforward to fix it if appropriate to do so the keyword can simply be added to the account what I would urge though is a discussion about why the keyword was missing because the decision to exclude it may have been based on the good reason, for example, the keyword has been deliberately removed from the account because it didn’t convert as per the historical campaign data.

So it’s a deliberate exclusion now this type of information is best communicated in strategy sessions and at reporting time when improvement actions are being planned now on to some other factors if Ads aren’t showing for any of the reasons that we’ve talked about so far it could be a billing issue so if Google cannot access funds the account will cease to run you’ll see lots of notifications as soon as you log into AdWords, they’re very right in front of you a bidding strategy issue for a particular keyword may need to be raised especially.

If competitors are adjusting bids by the time of day AdWords is a live option environment so this will occur it could be an approval issue such as a landing page not functioning correctly or text content being disapproved it could be a Quality Score issue relating to the relevance of you add the landing page and the click-through rate or something else where a troubleshooting analysis may be required this could include getting in contact with Google as from time to time mistakes in their system to occur.

Lastly, let’s talk about what to do when you search for your keyword and don’t see it want to know why now if you’re working with an agency just ask your campaign manager that’s the best place to start any information you can provide such as the keyword the device type the browser your time of day your location and whether you were using a device for search history is very helpful, your campaign manager can check your account can verify the situation explain the cause make any adjustments and you should be fine now.

A tip many advertisers want to make sure that a visitor who has already been to their website but did not convert can easily find the website again which is part of the motivation for having Ads always trigger in search. Google will allow you to adjust Ad delivery settings specifically for people who have already been to your website and are still searching using your target keywords.

This feature is called remarketing lists for search Ads or our OSA RLSA is a smart way to make sure your Ads trigger in search results for past visitors who are seen knowing that they’d like to transact it’s also very affordable because the only people who can see RLSA Ads are people who have already been to your site before.

So a smaller audience now if you’d like to diagnose issues yourself make sure to use the specialty tools by Google the first is the Ad preview and diagnosis tool and the second is the keyword diagnosis report links, so these tools will point you in the right direction as they’re designed to help with this exact problem so all advertisers should really be using these instead of doing live searches as the data that it provides will be much more accurate for you.

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